In early 2004, audiences couldn?t turn on a TV without seeing coverage of the Martha Stewart insider trading scandal. The media followed her every move during the lengthy trial and there was a lot of speculation as to what the future held for the domestic diva.The American public watched in disbelief as the facts were revealed. Not only did she accept an insider stock tip from her broker, she lied about it to SEC investigators.
Her lies were uncovered, and in March of this year, the billionaire was convicted of obstruction of justice in a New York courtroom.
Shortly thereafter, anyone who thought that rich people don?t go to jail was proven wrong, Stewart was sentenced to five months in prison. Stewart requested that she be sent to a Connecticut facility, in order to be closer to her 90- year-old mother. The judge did not honor her request, and placed her in Alderson Prison Camp in West Virginia.
Speculation turned to panic for shareholders and fans alike.
Everyone with a vested interest in Stewart was wondering what would happen to the empire of a convicted felon. Fears were soon dispersed and reports as of mid-October show that shares of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. have risen over six percent to $17.66. The controversy has actually seemed to help Stewart?s business, and her stock is up a total of 63 percent this year. Stewart receives a large revenue percentage, about percent, from K-Mart, the company that distributes her popular merchandise line. Shares of K-Mart?s stock have also risen just under five points to $91.02, despite Stewart?s conviction. The cable channel Style is still running Stewart?s show, which will also keep devoted fans happy.
Stewart spent her final few days of freedom in recluse at her New England estate then went to and island retreat, and on Oct. 8, she began her five month sentence.
In just one week, Stewart?s Web site was inundated with letters from supporters, and she also received mail in prison.
Supporters have reportedly been sending gifts as well as money to Stewart at Alderson.
Stewart released a letter posted on her Web site, http://www. marthatalks.com, thanking her supporters, saying that she was touched by such an outpouring from her fans. In the highly publicized letter, Stewart described her perception of the new surroundings.
“The camp is fine; it is pretty much what I anticipated…The best news-everyone is nice-both the officials and my fellow inmates… I have adjusted and am very busy.
The camp is like an old-fashioned college campus-without the freedom, of course.”Stewart has written a few books on her famous domestic talents, and with the new twist in her life, the businesswoman has found a way to capitalize on yet another personal experience.
She will write a book while incarcerated, and the topic will be dealing with jail life.
The book will serve as sort of a guide to those involved in the tough legal system. The actual deal has yet to be finalized, but some believe that it could be worth upwards of $6 million. Stewart?s furniture line with Bernhardt Furniture Co. will also be expanding next year, with the addition of 43 new items.
So don?t shed a tear for Stewart. A strong-willed businesswoman like herself won?t be kept down, even by a prison term. It?s no surprise that she?s found a way to make millions while serving time and it is obvious that she has not lost the support of her loyal fans. Stewart is expected to be released early next year. After Alderson, she must serve five months of home confinement. At this time, however, her lawyers plan to continue appealing the conviction.